Herby lamb & pea pie
1 tbsp olive oil
450g diced lamb or lamb neck fillet, diced
freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 medium carrot, diced finely
2 leeks, halved and sliced
500ml pale ale (I used Marston's English Pale Ale)
1 heaped tsp tomato puree
1 lamb stock cube (low salt, preferably)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp petit pois.
For the pastry :
150g plain flour
50g Atora vegetable suet
50g salted butter
a pinch of sea salt
50 ml cold water as a minimum
In a deep frying pan, heat the olive oil until smoking hot. Gently add the lamb and spread it out into one layer. Season with a light pinch of salt and a good pinch of black pepper. Leave it to cook, only moving it once the pan side has begun to caramelise, then turn it. Leave until the lamb has browned, then remove the meat to a bowl using a slotted spoon to retain the oils in the pan.
Add the onion, garlic and carrot to the pan and fry until the onion is transparent. Do not allow it to caramelise or burn.
Add the leeks and reduce the heat slightly. Return the lamb to the pan and stir through. Fry the leeks until softened, then decant the pan contents into a casserole dish.
Add all but 150ml of the pale ale to the pan and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to moderate and add the water, tomato puree, lamb stock cube, rosemary, mint, parsley and pomegranate molasses. Stir through and allow to simmer whilst you mix the remaining ale with the plain flour.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the ale/flour mix. Whisk through as you are adding, to prevent lumps forming. Place back onto the heat and stir well as the gravy thickens.
Pour the gravy into the casserole dish and stir through. Cover the casserole and place into a pre-heated oven at 170degC/325degF/gas3 for 90 minutes.
Once the time is up, remove the casserole from the oven and set aside to cool.
(It is at this stage, if you are making the pie in two instalments, that it would be possible to refrigerate the filling until the following day. Just remember to bring the filling back up to room temperature before you bake the pie).
Make the pastry for the pie, by placing the plain flour, vegetable suet, salted butter and sea salt into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the mixture until you have a cross between breadcrumbs and cornflake shapes.
Make sure to stir the pastry with a knife and under no circumstances knead the pastry dough. Add just enough water to bring the pastry together - just stir a few times with your knife, then pat and push the remainder of the flour into the ball. Wrap the ball in cling film and leave in a fridge to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Once the meat filling is cool, add the petit pois and decant into the pie dish.
Paint the edge of the pie dish with egg yolk.
Roll out the pastry until it is just slightly larger than the pie dish, then lay it on top of the dish, making sure it meets the edge all the way around.
Press down lightly on the edge, to seal the pastry. Trim off any excess.
Cut several holes in the centre of the pastry to let out any steam (otherwise the pastry will detach in places) and egg wash with the remainder of the egg yolk.
Place into a pre-heated oven at 180degF/350degC/gas4 for 35 minutes, until the pastry is golden and crisp.